September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

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September 13, 1998 – Sunday – 8:39 a.m.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She turns 45.  I just called her.  She has a job working for the city, and Henry is going to class and working part-time at the local Wal-Mart.  I’m sure this would make no sense to the world.  Henry had a great job as a detective at UNC and now he is pushing carts.  But they are not of this world and he is where God wants him to be.

Nate is now in 8th grade.  I switched schools in 6th grade and that was rough, I’m sure switching in 8th grade is even more difficult.

Mom says they will stay down there for Thanksgiving.  She wants us to come down, but I’ve already made plans, so I can’t.

Yesterday after work I auditioned for a sci-fi film being produced independently by some Regent students.  It is something they hope to sell and turn into a series.  Call backs are next Wednesday; we’ll see.  The audition was so much fun.  I do love this stuff.

Yesterday I saw two movies, Rounders and Simon Birch.  They were both fantastic!  Sitting behind me in the theater was a huge group of guy friends and it made me miss Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Justin, Charlie, and Josh so much.  I just miss laughing with them and letting the world fade away.

 

September 12, 1998 – Saturday – 9:08 a.m.

The 20th anniversary of Regent University is being celebrated.  I went to the convocation yesterday.  Dr. Jack Hayford spoke, as well as Pat Robertson.  It was a moving ceremony.

I am working this Saturday in just a few minutes, so I can have next Saturday off in order to go to King’s Dominion.  Youth church was awesome last night.  I had such a good time in worship.

My film audition for Saturday Despair was kind of weird on Thursday.  I have another audition today after work.

There is a lot going on, but I have yet to find some really close friends.  That takes time though.

I spent a couple of hours hanging out with Nicole the other night.  She seems really lonely as well.  She’s 24 and this is her first time away from home.

I received two amazing letters from Emily yesterday.  She is the sweetest thing on this planet.

Sarah hasn’t emailed me in nearly two weeks.

Jeni and Abigail just had birthdays, and it’s the 12th of September again.  Yesterday was a historical day in Washington D.C., but I forgive our President.

I talked with Colleen yesterday.  She reminds me so much of Jessica.  She loves the outdoors.  We talked about going camping some time soon.

Thank you for your love God.  Thanks for using me.  You are my everything.

August 14, 1998 – Friday – 3:00 p.m.

I have the day off and I am sitting alone facing the Atlantic Ocean.  I have discovered the beach for locals, it’s called Sandbridge, and no longer venture to the tourist trap that is Virginia Beach actual.  It is a beautiful day.  The waves are too powerful and no one is allowed in the water.  I just went for a walk and my steps joined in harmony with the crashing waves and the snapping bubbles of the surf.  I sang praises to my Lord and felt my Jesus with me.

The past two days of work were nice, and David and I visited Cindy’s on Wednesday night and enjoyed some yummy pizza.  Oh, and yesterday I called Lindy, and the two of us had the best conversation in the world.

I miss her.

I want her to come and see me.

So, here I am.  I will turn 22 after this weekend, I’ve experienced the beginnings of wonderful new friendships, and I’m facing a body of water that touches Africa, a land from which I have just returned.  And I’m about to start film school!

David has complimented me many times on how well I fit in with all the different groups of people.  Yet, he also says that when I blend in, I do it without changing who I am.

Wow, 19 pelican just flew over my head, all in a straight line.  Perhaps one day I can blend in with them and fly away.

But it is nice to have this sand, this earth, while I can.  I’ll be able to fly some day, but it is not now.  Now, I have the joy of sitting in complete peace with myself.  I can’t believe the world is full of so much beauty and so much love.

I love you God.

I love you.

August 10, 1998 – Monday – 5:45 p.m.

I only have one week left to be 21.

Today was great!  I had some training at the bookstore and then all the employees there went to the beach for a cookout.  I had the best time.  It was myself, Matt, David, and new people I met today: Steven, Dawn, Sarah, Jenny, Channing, Donna, Katy, Aaron, and Amy.

Great people; not all of them go to Regent, but they all love the Lord!

David and I played in the waves and talked about South Africa and it made me miss the place even more.  Matt had really dug deep in to community while I was away.  He has been going to prayer meetings and such.  I’ve been invited to one tonight.

I found out my mom and family are not in Florida yet.  They are in Atlanta.  The RV broke down.  I haven’t talked to them yet.  I haven’t talked to anyone from my old world yet.  I’m afraid to I think.  I’m afraid it will seem like they are all in slow motion and that I’m moving forward so quickly that we’ll be out of reach of each other.

Thank you God for this job.  Thank you for this place.  You are so good to me.  I love living with you and for you.  You have always placed me in a family of believers, no matter where you have called me.  Please speak to me tonight at this meeting.

July 4, 1998 – Saturday – 11:59 p.m.

I am now in a beautiful country home on the outskirts of Colerain, NC; a place I’ve never been to before.

I went to the youth service with David at Parkway Temple on Friday night.  It was so awesome.  I’ve never seen kids praise the Lord like that before.  I was around an entire new set of people, but I felt so at home.

After the service I went over to Justin’s house where he and all of his camp friends were getting together.  I spent another two hours with people I’ve never met before.

The past few days have just been new people after new people!  America is just filled with wonderful people everywhere I look.

Then, this morning, I left with David, Mary Jo, and Mark and we drove down to Mary Jo’s house here in Colerain, NC, 15 miles east of Ahoskie for the 4th of July.  All three of them are Divinity students at Regent, and we spent most of the day on the shore of the Chowan River that runs nearby.

Mary Jo’s parents are hilarious, especially her dad.  They are so hospitable and they fed us like crazy!  Three other friends of hers came over, Kelly and Chad from Greenville, NC and Coleen, another girl from Regent.

We swam in the river, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but the fireworks were cancelled that evening due to strong winds.  Instead, we just sat on the swings and talked.  We spent hours and hours there; the conversation just flowed.  The warm wind blew all over us.  Coleen is so unique and beautiful.  It was just the most perfect 4th of July I could have had.  Talking and sharing with new souls who seem so eager to know you is one of life’s greatest gifts!

Now it’s time for a peaceful sleep.

June 17, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:30 p.m.

I turn 22 in two months.

The final pages of this Book of Days seem to be falling out.  I hope this journal stands the test of time and still has all it’s pages whenever I or someone else reads it.

I haven’t written since Saturday.  The weekend didn’t turn out that great, but all is well. Everyone seemed to understand while the visit was difficult for me.  I did get to see Sarah a little bit, but not much.  Nevertheless, I am home.  This place is home for ten more days.

When Lindy dropped me off on Sunday there was a strange car in the driveway.  I walked into the house and there stood a beautiful and curvy dark-haired girl.  She was looking at me.  I had never seen her before.

It turns out, she and her mom were looking at buying our house, or possibly renting it.  The girl is only 15, but she looks 18 or 20.  Her name is Shana and we talked the whole afternoon.  She’s pretty neat; she said she would call me.

Emily have talked an average of twice a week recently and I’ve been hanging out with Marcus and Peter quite a bit.  These days have been nice.

I bought Sarah a small Bible and had her name engraved on it.  I wrote a special goodbye in it and will give it to her on the last night I see her before I leave: June 26, 1998.  What a night that will be!  Will that be the end or just the beginning?

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

“Soon it will be time to go out to the places I will be from.”

I’ve learned a hard lesson these past few weeks:  all these people and places that I’ve loved for so long….none of them are really mine.